Carabao Island is known for its white sand beaches and crystalline waters. The island is also a home of many diving spots, caves, and healthy reefs. Many tourists from different parts of the Philippines visit the island for it is a great entry point as it easily connects with Cebu and Manila via Caticlan airport. Aside from these tourist attractions, it also boasts local products that make the travel more memorable.
In Brgy. Lanas, San Jose, a women-led association named San Jose Family Care Credit Cooperative (SJFCC) are manufacturing slippers of different colors and designs. These trendy slippers are locally made and can be used for both indoor and outdoor activities. Marked and named after the word carabao or water buffalo, Karbao slippers, are also as tough as the carabao as it could withstand mountainous or rocky trek.
The SJFCCC was formed in December 2014. They have a total of ninety-four (94) members, with women making up 63% of the group. They were originally into lending business until the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) offered to train them in the production of slippers in 2016. The cooperative identified that the slipper production would be a hit in the market considering the increase in tourists visiting the island. They were given technology assistance by the DOST-MIMAROPA through its Romblon Provincial Office in 2017 to enhance the productivity and quality of their products. Set of equipment for slippers and shoe production such as embroidery machine, lockstitch sewing machine, hydraulic cutting, and shoe grinding machines were provided to the cooperative under the Community Empowerment through Science and Technology or CEST Program. “Mas naging produktibo ang aming mga manggagawa lalo na ang mga kababaihan. Mas gumanda rin ang aming produkto dahil may sarili na kaming logo- kaya unti-unti nang nakikilala ang aming produktong tsinelas na gawang Hambil”, says Ms. Analyn Quijaro, general manager of SJFCCC.
They were also given training in slippers and shoe production to enhance their skills and properly utilize the equipment. Some of their product outputs are designs that are popular nowadays such as slides, sandal-style, one-toe-post, spartan-type, and classic flip-flops. These products are also available at the MIMAROPA Ventures (https://mimaropaventures.ph), the official e-commerce platform of the DOST-MIMAROPA-assisted products.
Slippers of various designs produced by the cooperative
SJFCCC during their Training on Slipper Production